Reading the Gospels in the Dark: Portrayals of Jesus in Film / Edition 1

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From The Greatest Story Ever Told to Jesus of Montreal to Shane, the figure of Jesus has made repeated - and varied - appearances in American cinema. In Reading the Gospels in the Dark, Richard Walsh brings "Jesus-films," the canonical gospels, and American culture into conversation with one another.

The discussion begins in the theater with the lights down low and the Jesus-films on the big screen. Walsh's commentary starts with the films themselves and the American Jesus(es) portrayed therein. Ironically, while we do not expect Jesus-films to "get Jesus or the gospels right," they do cast light on interesting literary and mythical features of the gospels - and on American culture. For Example, Arcand's Jesus of Montreal offers a fresh understanding of the apocalyptic discourse in Mark 13, and Shane and Pale Rider demonstrate that Americans desperately want a conquering hero to deal with their frustrations.

Walsh's book explores how people watch Jesus-films and what they take with them after the screen goes dark.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
How do the "Jesus films" compare to the canonical gospels? In Reading the Gospel in the Dark: Portrayals of Jesus in Film, religion professor Richard Walsh explores movies such as Jesus of Montreal, Shane, Godspell and The Greatest Story Ever Told. He argues that Jesus films are cultural and ideological products, and he arranges them into five basic eras, showing how they reflect the tensions and hopes of different periods of the 20th century. The book's tone and language can be academic at times, but Walsh's insights into religion and popular culture are often fascinating. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563383878
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: Living amidst Stories
1 Telling Sacred Stories in Cathedral Cinemas 1
2 Films without Heroes 21
3 On Earth as in Heaven: Jesus of Montreal and Mark 45
4 Location, Location, Location: Godspell and the Teachings of Jesus 69
5 A Hermeneutics of Suspicion: Il Vangelo secondo Matteo and Matthew 95
6 The Alien and Alienating Past: King of Kings and Luke 121
7 Romancing the Past: The Greatest Story Ever Told and John 147
8 Coming to America 173
App Portraying the Sacred in Film 187
Movies Cited 191
Selected Bibliography 195
Index of Names and Movies 203
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